Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 11 Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post

What They Say:

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With only one episode left, Ramens has the stage set for an exciting finale. While Sarucchi, the Kakyu Association, and Sheung Wan all have their parts to play, this arc is ultimately all about Lin and Fei Lan. As the two gangs feud, Fei Lan shows himself to be more than just a loose cannon; he’s also quite the clever manipulator. The way he simultaneously forces two captured thugs to fight each other for their survival while also using the survivor to send a message to Sheung Wan to trick them into making peace with the Kakyu Association paints him as both smart and dangerous. His manipulations and murders are further underlined by a constant red tint to the background, which does an excellent job of setting him up as a legitimate threat.

Meanwhile, Lin is still dealing with the fact that Fai Lan is still alive while also facing his own trust issues. Banba not understanding Lin’s farewell note and constantly calling Lin to figure out what’s going on is a nice twist on a somewhat stereotypical plotline, but the core of this story is all Lin. Enokida telling everyone except Banba about Lin’s plan to leave leads to quite a few sweet moments of everyone giving Lin gifts in an attempt to make him stay in Hakata. It’s a tad heavy-handed, but seeing a very tangible representation of how much Lin means to everyone he’s met is still a strong moment for Lin’s character. Lin ran to Enokida because he wanted someone who’s entirely motivated by self-interest, but even Enokida cares in his own way. All this pays off with Lin finally meeting Fei Lan, who tries to recruit him as a partner in crime. Having that as Fei Lan’s motive doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since we’ve never seen anything to establish him as the forgiving type. Everything we’ve seen of him set him up as a self-interested bastard, so this is a bit out of character for him. Even so, this finally leads to Lin admitting how much he likes all the people he’s met in Hakata, which makes for a nice cap on his arc. Fei Lan’s decision to kill everyone Lin cares about is far more in character and is a great way to set the stakes for the show’s climax.

While all this is going on, there’s still the B plot about Sarucchi and Sheung Wan. Sarucchi’s fight against Fei Lan at the start of the episode makes for a fun sword duel that highlights just how skilled they both are, even if the animation is pretty average. The fight still maintains a sense of momentum thanks to some clever editing, which is enough to compensate for the somewhat limited animation. Afterward, we’re treated to a series of double-crosses and double-double crosses between Nitta and Sheung Wan, with Sarucchi stuck in the middle. This culminates with Nitta saving Sarucchi and revealing that he’s a lot like Enokida: he’ll happily sell out a friend for profit, but he’ll still help them get out of the mess he makes. Entertaining as it is, this subplot is only tangentially related to the main plot between Lin and Fei Lan, and almost feels like an excuse for Ramens to fill time and delay the inevitable fight between them until the final episode.

In Summary:
Now that all the stakes are established, Ramens is ready to go out with a bang. Fei Lan’s character is still a bit of a mess, but Lin’s growth and ultimate acceptance of how much everyone he’s means to him more than make up for it. Ramens has all the pieces in place for a satisfying finale next week

Grade: B+

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